David Mackenzie Ogilvy (1911 – 1999) was an advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the father of advertising. Trained at the Gallup research organization, he attributed the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits.
David Mackenzie Ogilvy was born on 23 June 1911 at West Horsley, Surrey in England. His father, Francis John Longley Ogilvy (c. 1867 - 1943) was a Gaelic-speaking Highlander from Scotland who was a classics scholar and a financial broker. His mother was Dorothy Blew Fairfield (1881-1942), daughter of Arthur Rowan Fairfield, a civil servant from Ireland, and his wife Sophie Louise Blew Jones. He was a first cousin once removed of the writer Rebecca West and of Douglas Holden Blew Jones, who was the brother-in-law of Freda Dudley Ward and the father-in-law of Antony Lambton, 6th Earl of Durham. Ogilvy attended St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, on reduced fees because of his father's straitened circumstances and won a scholarship at age thirteen to Fettes College, in Edinburgh. In 1929, he again won a scholarship, this time in History to Christ Church, Oxford. Without the scholarships, Ogilvy would not have been able to attend Fettes or Oxford University because his father's business was badly hit by the depression of the mid-1920s. His studies were not successful, however, and he left Oxford for Paris in 1931 where he became an apprentice chef in the Hotel Majestic. After a year, he returned to Scotland and started selling AGA cooking stoves, door-to-door. His success at this marked him out to his employer, who asked him to write an instruction manual, The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA Cooker, for the other salesmen. Thirty years later, Fortune magazine editors called it the finest sales instruction manual ever written.
After seeing the manual, Ogilvy's older brother Francis Ogilvy—the father of actor Ian Ogilvy—showed the manual to management at the London advertising agency Mather & Crowther where he was working. They offered the younger Ogilvy a position as an account executive.